Sunday, December 30, 2007

Major Milestone

Today marks a momentous occasion for this recovering neurology patient. For the first time, I have enough strength and dexterity in my hands to type (with both hands!). For those who care about such things, even with my still-impaired movement, I am able to type at a decent 25 wpm (or there abouts). I'm so thankful for the proper keyboarding training that I received back when I was young. :-)

Here are a few updates that leads into some specific prayer requests:
  1. After receiving a third MRI last Thursday (Dec. 27), the neurology team has determined that my spinal cord injury was caused by an infarct (essentially a stroke to the spinal cord).
  2. A lot stems out of this diagnosis, perhaps most significantly is that there is no full recovery in the prognosis. Stroke patients all expect some permanent impairment.
  3. Yet, on the flip side of the same coin, if indeed I had suffered a stroke in the spinal cord, there is no logical explanation for the incredible recovery that has been witnessed in the past week. I had gone from being essentially paralyzed from the neck down, breathing by a ventilator, to being able to get up and walk on my own and type on the computer in a matter of less than a week. The neurologist claim that "spontaneous recoveries" this happens all time...which is quite a different tune than what doctors were saying a week ago. I believe the explanation is quite simple, there is a miracle-working God who's in control of this case. PTL!
  4. Because the doctors believe that I had suffered a stroke, they believe that I have a blood clotting disorder that caused it. The hematologists have ordered about 15 blood tests to see if I have any of the testable blood clotting disorders. The idea is that if my blood is prone to clotting, then such a condition may occur again...but the results may be far more catastrophic, and so treatment of this disorder would be in order.
  5. The attending neurologist who is in charge of my case is resistant to discharging me until he receives all of the blood test results back. This is especially frustrating because some of those tests may take upwards of a week to get results! All doctors agree that I am of stable enough condition to be discharged to acute rehabilitation...and my family and I are more than ready to go home to Loma Linda. We are eager to go, but we pray that the Lord will move so the attending would be willing to let us go.
So here are some of the specific requests that our family has at this specific time, we would appreciate you including these on your prayer list as well. (God has answered your prayers so far, there's no reason to believe that he's going to stop!)
  1. Pray that the blood tests all come back normal with no complications. If I have a blood clotting disease, I will need to take blood thinning medication for the rest of my life.
  2. Pray that the Lord will open the door that my family and I may go home to Loma Linda as quickly as possible. It will be of great relief to us psychologically and I will be able to receive the intense rehab that I need.
  3. Pray that the Lord will grant a full recovery. God has granted me healing that is miraculously above and beyond what is "normal" for any stroke patient, there's no reason why he can't heal wholly and completely. God is not in the business of only half answering prayers. Above all, may His name be glorified amongst the nations as the God who works beyond what medical science can do.
Thank you all for your continued prayer for my family and me. We have seen the Lord clearly through this entire ordeal, and we will be eager hear the Lord's explanation for why He permitted this in the Millennium.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

God's Manifold Gifts

I am having Addison transcribe this for me as I am a little too weak to do it myself.

I have been making gradual but definite progress everyday. I am thankful for all the prayers that have gone up on my behalf and I am sure the Lord is hearing and answering them. In the time that I've been in the hospital I have developed a thankfulness for things that I previously I may have taken for granted:
  1. The gift of movement - having become incapacitated I have come to understand how it feels to be a paralytic. (Read John 5) Now that I am going through rehab, I am amazed at the effort it takes to accomplish even the simplest motions. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made.
  2. The gift of breath - Every breath is precious. Having been on a ventilator with no sedation, having my lungs suctioned, and finally recovering from extubation, have taught me how true it is that life is just a vapor. I appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Even something as simple as our every breath is a gift from God.
  3. The gift of food - Having fasted for 6 days with no sustenance except for a tube dripping food into my stomach, I have never appreciated real food so much more than when I could eat again. Thankfully Jamba Juice was just across the street.
  4. The gift of "relief" - I was admitted into the ER because of damage to my spinal cord. One of the first things I realized was that I could not control my bladder. So, no words could describe the feeling of relieving myself after the catheter was removed today.
  5. The gift of family - My family have been at my bedside the whole time. Their presence has been a indescribable source of support. I couldn't have made it without them.
  6. The gift of friends - I'm thankful for friends that pray. I have been encouraged by the many notes, comments, emails, gifts, and visits. More importantly I have appreciated being constantly uplifted before the throne of grace.
  7. The gift of rest - It is important for us to take time for the Lord each day, each week. Let's remember to spend that time with Him, before He makes time for us to rest with Him.
I have been doing much better. Feel free to comment, email, or call. I'd love to hear from you.

Courage!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Update on Al

(This post was written by Addison)

Hello everybody,

Thank you all for your prayers for my brother. Here's the latest update on him.
  • Extubated as of yesterday.
  • Passed the swallowing test and now is now on a liquid diet for one day.
  • May be moved out of the ICU sometime in the next 24 hours.
  • Able to talk quietly.
  • Even able to use his computer a little, by using the touchpad
He wanted everybody to know that he really appreciates all your prayers. We will keep you posted on the latest.

God Bless,
~Addison

Monday, December 17, 2007

The End...for now

I just finished my Chemistry Final Exam, which means I am officially, entirely DONE with school...(for this semester. ;-) Leaving for GYC at 2:30am tomorrow morning.

See you there!

Friday, December 14, 2007

"Grade Your Student Teacher"

As a part of the conclusion of my student teaching semester, I have a special student teacher evaluation sheet that my students are to fill out for me. My heart was warmed with some of the student’s responses. I’ve tried to reproduce them with as little doctoring as possible (English class really is good for something).

If I could give my student teacher some advice on teaching, it would be…


• Don’t use hard words on tests, mmm…in class either. (From an ESL student who had just taken a grueling 2 hour final exam in which she needed explanations for nearly every question)
• I learn more from the Bible than I ever did at all. (I had to try really hard to keep from editing the English on this one.)
• That he should do it until he gets so old that he’s physically incapable of doing it. (Yes, a student actually wrote this.)

The things I like best about my student teacher are…


• I like that you smile all the time and laugh, cuz it seems you have fun teaching us. When you have fun I have fun. (*sigh* If they only knew… j/k! Amazing what a positive attitude can buy for you.)
• He tries to make things fun, he makes us think. Also he answers basically all of our weird questions. (This student wasn’t joking when she said WEIRD.)
• He makes the class interesting and able to understand (another ESL student)
• He explains things in 5 minutes that I’ve wondered about for years. And he’s cool, he never lectures us or hollers. (Even though I sure feel like it sometimes!)
• He actually listens and pays attention to the class. (Now if only the same could be said of the students…)
• That he’s not boring and we always do activities, not just lectures. (Ah…teaching methods are vindicated!)

I wish my student teacher would…

• Take us out more and teach other classes and have fun days like no school work LOL! (Notice: fun days = no school work.)
• Give me all A+’s all the time even when I don’t deserve them. (I’m sure many other students would concur.)
• Be younger and taller. (I think this one has got to be my favorite one of all...actually came from a boy!)
• Stay longer and teach us next year. (Awww! *tear*)

“If you are called to teach—TEACH. If not, go find some other less fulfilling profession.”
~Quote I heard during my education training for which I can cite no source. Apologies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hiba...what?!

I learned a new word from a medical dictionary this past week:

Hibakusha - a survivor of either of the atomic explosions at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

Why was this in a medical dictionary?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Trust not in human plans, Part 2

For those of you who care to know the rest of the story...

I went down to Chattanooga State College yesterday to enroll and register as I had planned. Remarkably, it was the smoothest enrollment process I've ever been through. There were hardly any lines, and the people were very helpful. I needed to present official transcripts in order to register for the classes I needed, but the person behind the desk simply waived that requirement for me for no apparent reason. I wasn't supposed to be able to get a parking pass until my bill was fully paid, but the lady at the Bursar's Office smiled and gave me a parking pass anyway. Not only that, a friend told me later that her sister had the most difficult experience trying to enroll at Chattanooga State. I'd like to believe that the Lord worked on my behalf yesterday, opening doors of divine providence.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Trust not in human plans

I'm the type of person who likes to have my ducks in a row. I don't like risks. I like to know all my options. I don't like surprises. I make detailed plans for my life far in advance. Ellen White warns, "There is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith." I think the Lord wanted to teach me that lesson through a life experience this past week.

I had made plans months ago that I would teach at Laurelbrook Academy while taking a few remaining courses at nearby Bryan College this school year. Well, I found out this past week through a series of events completely outside of my control (note: I don't like things like that), that I will not be able to continue studying at Bryan College next semester. This places all of my plans in jeopardy. I may not be able to continue teaching at Laurelbrook, I may not be able to graduate this coming spring, etc etc. It seemed all of my well-laid plans were being destroyed in one fell swoop. But after some immediate research, it appears as though I will be able to take both classes that I need at a fraction of the cost (something like $4500 less) at Chattanooga State College instead. Of course this allows me to also fulfill my commitment to teach the remainder of the year at Laurelbrook. Problem is that between now and the time I leave for Christmas Break, there is no time to drive down to Chatt State to apply (it's a 1 hour drive)! It just so happened that the day after I found this out, my Chemistry professor at Bryan College cancelled a lab (definitely a rare occurrence) the following Monday which frees me to go apply for enrollment. Amazing how the Lord orchestrates and times everything just right for those who trust in Him!

Yes, even the most well-laid plans of man will be brought to naught. It's been a stressful week, and I hope I've learned my lesson!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Speeding bullets

My life of late:
  • GYC registration closing soon! Register today!
  • Got sick...sniffle, cough, hack.
  • Got well...yay!
  • Big chemistry test...no!
  • Prepare for final exam (mine)...no!
  • Prepare for final exams (my students)...mwa ha ha!
  • Grading student research papers. LOTS of grading...ugh.
  • Complete student teaching portfolio...eeek!
  • Thanksgiving break is coming...yay!
  • Can't go home...wah!
  • End of post...phew!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Crunchier than the Crunchiest

Crunch time has officially arrived for this GYC VP. Without going into details, I just solicit your prayers as we manage this last month before GYC. There seems to be new surprises every year that never fails to keep things exciting.

BTW, reminder to all those who have not registered for GYC that Standard Registration closes November 11. We experienced (as forewarned) significant technical issues with registrations during the big surge of people trying to register all at the same time at the close of Early bird...so don't delay!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wildwood Visitors

My brother Addison came up with some of his friends who form the Majesty Chorale from Wildwood to Laurelborok this past weekend for a retreat. It was nice to have my brother visit, since I'm usually the one that makes the hour drive down. The autumn weather was just right for some hiking. We paid the Laurelbrook Falls a visit.We brothers.
The daring few who made the hike to the waterfall.
This region has suffered from a severe drought and this is the first time that there's been water at the falls for the past few months. It was a blessing!

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Day to Remember

As you all know, today is October 22. This day definitely is a day to remember, here are a few items that come to mind:

  • It is the 18th birthday of my brother Addison! Yes, we do joke about the fact that he was born on this particular date. The story goes that my mom actually really wanted a girl, and so the day he was born really was a great disappointment to my folks...of course, it was just a joke.
  • Apple, Inc. posts the fiscal report of its most successful quarter in history.
  • It is the 2nd birthday for AudioVerse.org. If you haven't checked it out, visit www.audioverse.org to read about the amazing growth that AudioVerse has experienced and the blessing it has been to the whole world!
  • On a related note, it is the launching of VideoVerse.org! The sister of AudioVerse that provides free video sermons for download. Check it out at www.videoverse.org.
  • First official Board Meeting for Advent HOPE Sabbath School in Loma Linda, California.
  • 163 year anniversary of the Great Disappointment of 1844. If you will allow me to theologize a little here, I really don't find the 1844 misunderstanding of Christ's ministry in the heavenly sanctuary to be a great disappointment at all, seeing that it was clearly prophesied to occur centuries ago in Revelation chapter 10. To borrow C. Mervyn Maxwell's term, it was actually a "Magnificent Disappointment!" The REAL disappointment is the fact that God's people hasn't completed the work God has given them to do and Christ hasn't returned yet!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Houston, we have a problem...

...actually we don't have a problem. Luke and I were in Houston today on a site visit checking out the Hilton and George R. Brown Convention Center for the 2011 GYC. We had a great visit and our report has been submitted to the GYC ECOM for review. In the meantime, here's some photos of our visit here today:

The hotel surprised us with this very classy projection of our logo on a rippled waterfall display in the check-in lobby. They made a good first impression.

Here's a picture of the Houston downtown skyline from the roof of our hotel.

We also got to visit the largest church in America!

Here is Luke taking the opportunity to preach from Joel Osteen's pulpit.

Here's a wider picture of the stage with me trying to keep the audience's attention.

This church is the former Comcast Stadium. Lakewood completely gutted and remodeled it. They have 4 services each weekend with 15,000 people attending each time. That means 60,000 people attend this church every weekend. That's a lot of people.

We had an enjoyable trip. We'll see, maybe we'll be holding GYC in 2011 down the street from Joel Osteen.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Don't Delay!

For those of you who are planning on attending GYC this year. Let this be a gentle reminder to register by October 14 in order to take advantage of the early-bird discount! Don't wait until the last day, we experienced some issues with the heavy traffic that clogged our server on the last day of early-bird registration cutoff last year and would not want anyone to be inconvenienced in their registration process. Don't delay. Register today! Click here.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Students in their Right Minds

Recently I had an activity in my Bible class that engaged the right hemisphere of my students' brains. Here are some of their productions. Anyone want to venture a guess as to what we were studying?








As you can see, I've got some rather artistic students.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Way God Leads

I felt so moved by a passage I read in Patriarchs and Prophets this morning that I wanted to share it.

God in His providence brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses before the sea, that He might manifest His power in their deliverance and signally humble the pride of their oppressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but He chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in Him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never have opened the path for them. It was "by faith" that "they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land." Hebrews 11:29. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they believed the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel divided the sea to make a path for their feet.
The great lesson here taught is for all time. Often the Christian life is beset by dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before and bondage or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, "Go forward." We should obey this command, even though our eyes cannot penetrate the darkness, and we feel the cold waves about our feet. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every shadow of uncertainty disappears and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey at all. Unbelief whispers, "Let us wait till the obstructions are removed, and we can see our way clearly;" but faith courageously urges an advance, hoping all things, believing all things. [PP 290.1,2]

The Red Sea did not part until the children of Israel actually started marching down in to the water. The Lord had given them enough evidences of his power and care that they needed to rely on faith to trust that if He bade them "go forward," that He would deliver them. This was a stern rebuke to me. As one who often wants all my "ducks in a row," I realize that sometimes when the Lord reveals His will to me clearly, that I need to move forward in faith and leave the consequences with God. If I'm honest with myself, I must admit that He's never failed me yet. I pray the Lord will impress upon you, the reader, with the needful application for your life today.

Happy Sabbath!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Surrender

I have a few minutes here at Bryan College, so I decided to post. I thought I'd share a few quotes that have been especially meaningful to me recently, I think they speak such volumes that no commentary on my part is needed to make clear their significance:

We are never called upon to make a real sacrifice for God. Many things He asks us to yield to Him, but in doing this we are but giving up that which hinders us in the heavenward way. Even when called upon to surrender those things which in themselves are good, we may be sure that God is thus working out for us some higher good. In the future life the mysteries that here have annoyed and disappointed us will be made plain. We shall see that our seemingly unanswered prayers and disappointed hopes have been among our greatest blessings. [MH 473.4-474.1]

God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co-workers with Him. [MH 479.2]

Friday, August 31, 2007

Educated Musings...

I'm to keep a daily professional journal during my time of student teaching so I will reflect on happenings that occurred through the day. This is designed to help me write down what went well and what went poorly so I can improve on the craft of teaching. It's actually a good exercise, and I just thought I would share a sneak peek into my teaching by posting one of my entries:


(Un)Free Thinkers

16 September 2007
In reflecting over some activities over the past week, I have come to realize a surprising paradox. In my Bible Doctrines class on Thursday, I gave the students an assignment to illustrate with pictures the concepts and history that we learned about in Daniel 2. There were some basic guidelines for the assignment, but there was a great deal of latitude for students to choose how to create their illustrations. Along the same vein, another time, I gave them a free-writing assignment where they read a story in the Bible and chose a character in the story and wrote down their thoughts/feelings as though they were in that/those characters’ shoes. It was remarkable how difficult the students found those assignments. What were intended t0 be assignments that allowed students the freedom to think on their own and to be creative turned into frustrated attempts on many students’ part to know just EXACTLY “what the teacher wanted.” I was surprised that though teenagers often clamor for freedom of thought, expression, and behavior my students were suddenly adamant (some were downright upset!) that the teacher would not tell them just exactly what to do! Now that they were allowed to think, they didn’t want to! How ironic it really is. (I hasten to add that I’m certain that I am of the same nature as those students, and that this tendency exists with me just the same.) I am just reminded of one of my favorite quotes (one of my many ;-) from Education page 17, “It is the work of true education to develop this power, to train the youth to be thinkers, and not mere reflectors of other men's thought.”

Life @ Laurelbrook

I am beginning a year-long stint at Laurelbook Academy as a student teacher. This is part of my requirements for my Secondary Education degree from Ouachita Hills College. Unfortunately, Verizon cellphone coverage here is close to nil so my major source of contact with the "outside world" has been cut off. I realize that I need to put more effort into keeping my blog updated to keep those you interested abreast of my latest rompings... problem is that Internet access is hard to come by over here too (it's only in the school computer lab) and it's quite slow. Anyway...on to my life.

I am teaching Physical Science to the Freshmen and Bible Doctrines to the Juniors. I feel a totally inadequate and unprepared for this task even though I've been trained by some of the best back at OHC. The following are a few statements that contribute to my feeling ineptness.

Nothing is of greater importance than the education of our children and young people. {CT 165.1}
To train the young to become true soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ is the most noble work ever given to man. {CT 166.3}
In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one... {Ed 30.2}
(Ellen White was always one for superlatives...)

In addition to preparing for, teaching, and grading papers from my classes, I will also be working in the school's vocational program, and will also be taking a college class from Bryan College in Dayton, TN (from which I am posting this blog). Of course, my responsibilities in GYC still remains also. It's going to be an intensely busy semester, that's for sure (it already has been!). I think that it will be over before I know it, though. If you don't see this blog updated very often, despite my sincere intentions to do so, I think you'll know why. :-) Pray for my students and me when you get a chance; we're going to need it!

Here are a few pictures for those of you who wouldn't read this blog unless there were pictures ;-):


The classic Laurelbrook sign.


This is the 3 bedroom house that I get to stay in all by myself! It's GLORIOUS having a bedroom where I sleep and an office where I study/work. I don't recall ever having such an arrangement in my living quarters before in my entire life.


A view from the Laurelbrook Lodge that overlooks this beautiful Tennessee valley. The Lodge is the only place I've found on campus where I can get a consistent cellphone signal...and it's exactly 1.5 miles from my house on dirt roads. Remember this, it will be on your next quiz. ;-)


Oh yes, the weekend before I came to Laurelbrook, I was in Michigan for the wedding of Norman and Joelle McNulty. This is a picture of Norman the night before the wedding. He got a little out of control when Pieter reminded him that he was getting married the next day. (Actually, this was a victory celebration for his second of three hole-in-one's in a row at the close of his 18 holes.)


Here's a picture of the bridal party looking purdy. (Courtesy of TKA Photography) If you're interested in more N&J wedding photos and commentary, please visit: Joelle's Blog.

I'm through with two entire weeks of school...phew! (Only 34 more to go!) Teaching is a LOT of work! Happy Labor Day! (Yes, and I will be laboring...)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apostasy!

I recently was informed that I had not updated my blog since February. Some must be thinking that's the apostasy that I am referring to. Hardly! Here's what I'm talking about:



That's right, I got a Mac. I am currently writing this blog entry on my brand new 15" 2.2 Ghz Intel Core2Duo MacBook Pro. I never thought this day would come. I do feel a little apostate...a little...

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Snow!

Our campus received a surprise Thursday night when it started snowing! The lovely white blanket was pretty well melted by the time lunch rolled around, but I managed to sneak a few photos in the morning before classes. Here they are:

I was struck with the irony of this picture. My car with California plates and Loma Linda license plate frames covered with snow. It was a strange feeling…

A view of our vineyard through our peach orchard.

A cheery greeting at the entrance of our campus.

The incomplete academy boys’ dormitory, coated in white armor.

The academy girls’ dorm, looking purdy.

The spiritual lesson from the snow fall can hardly be ignored. "...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." [Isaiah 1:18] The dead leaves, dried grass, and barren soil of our own righteousness can be covered with the pure, untainted righteousness of Jesus. What a marvelous Savior!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Excellence!

Here's a passage I came across in my reading for my Psychology class (we get to read Spirit of Prophecy for Psychology class, how cool is that!) It's worth more than a mere passing glance:

"The Lord has given man capacity for continual improvement, and has granted him all possible aid in the work. Through the provisions of divine grace we may attain almost to the excellence of the angels.--RH, June 20, 1882. (OHC 218.)" [1MCP 9.1]

Monday, January 1, 2007

It's OVER!

GYC is over...at least GYC 2006 in Baltimore is over. Luke and I actually were in Minneapolis the week before GYC to get things rolling for next year. Well, GYC Baltimore was a huge blessing. I actually got to hear many of the sermons (only one seminar, though) and the preaching, in my opinion, was at an unprecedented level. Here are some highlights from the conference from my perspective:
  1. 2600 registered and checked in. 4000 people on Sabbath morning.
  2. Having all of our name tag printers malfunction, only to be troubleshot (by my bro, yeah!) and working 45 minutes before registration opened.
  3. Average wait time for registration went down from 3 hours to 3 minutes. (Can somebody say AMEN out there?!)
  4. Seeing convention staff walking around with their heads buried in an Adventist book or toting a Bible study card.
  5. Seeing GYC attendees praying with, giving Bible studies, and talking with people on the Inner Harbor.
  6. Setting a new trend with the Sabbath sack meals.
  7. Working with an incredible bunch of people in the logistics team.
  8. Introducing CD Brooks for the Sunday morning challenge.
Make plans to be at GYC 2007 at the Minneapolis Convention Center on December 19-23!